Mayor Washington tries to rally Boston blacks

Chicago Mayor Harold Washington came to Boston Sunday stumping for a fellow black, Melvin H. King, the only black candidate in Boston's mayoral race. King campaign officials say they hope Mr. Washington's visit will bolster their minority registration drive. In the Chicago election, Washington capitalized on an unusually high black turnout and a good showing among white liberals.

But there are doubts surrounding the King campaign. Washington's visit comes amid press reports that King's support among blacks has been eroded by other candidates. Also, the editor of a respected local black newspaper, the Bay State Banner, has suggested that King is not electable and that blacks should support a viable white candidate instead. The editor, Melvin B. Miller, is supporting David Finnegan, the acknowledged leader in the race.

Mr. Miller argues that registered black voters account for only about 17 percent of Boston voters, while in Chicago the figure was much higher. However, Boston election officials report that more than 12,000 new voters were registered in the first six months of the year. An estimated 80 to 85 percent of those were minority residents.

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